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US Relaxes Visa Rules for HIV Afflicted Visitors

by VR Sreeraman on September 30, 2008 at 11:34 AM
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 US Relaxes Visa Rules for HIV Afflicted Visitors

US immigration officials on Monday announced moves to ease and speed up visa-processing for HIV-positive visitors to the United States, months after a 21-year entry ban on people with the virus was lifted.

Under the new rules, US consular offices overseas will have the authority to grant temporary, non-immigrant visas to HIV-positive applicants who meet "all of the other normal criteria for the granting of a US visa," the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement.

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Previously, people with HIV were banned from entering the United States unless they obtained a special waiver.

"We're also accelerating the process by providing an additional avenue for temporary admission while maintaining a high level of security at our borders," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in the statement.
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Visas issued under the new rules will "be subject to certain criteria designed to ensure an HIV-positive person's activities while in the United States do not present a risk to the public health," the statement said, without going into detail.

President George W. Bush signed legislation in July which removed HIV from a list of diseases "of public health significance" that effectively barred any person infected with the virus that causes AIDS from entering the United States.

The ban on HIV-positive foreigners entering the United States had been in place since 1987.

Source: AFP
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